Today’s fun headline: A man actually bit a police dog while he was being arrested in Australia.
“Man bites dog” is the ultimate headline for journalists (we’ll explain why below), and headline writers the internet-over are rejoicing at this quirky story. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that police responded to an apprehended violence order breach at a Berkley resident around 11 pm. When confronted by police, the 31-year-old suspect grabbed Dexter, the police dog, by the neck and tried to bite him.
The man actually managed to sink his teeth into the dog, causing him to bite back several times. “As you can imagine, Dexter did a better job of it,” said one officer.
The man was arrested and will need stitches for his own bite wounds. How’s Dexter doing?
”It was a nasty bite, not too much blood but there is a portion of his skin missing on the right biceps. Dexter’s OK. An examination found bruising to the ear. He’s had a full tetanus shot and is fine.”
The man has been charged extensively with destruction or damage of property, committing an act of cruelty upon an animal, resisting police, possessing prescribed restricted substance, and contravening an apprehended violence order.
So why is “man bites dog” such a big deal in the journalism world? “Man bites dog” represents an idea in journalism that argues readers (like yourself) much prefer unusual and at-times outlandish news over common, everyday occurrences. A story is considered more “newsworthy” if there’s something weird, comical, or ironic about it. For instance, if a dog bites a man, it’s not very likely that you’ll care to read about it because there’s nothing out of the ordinary there. However, if “man bites dog,” that’s far more likely to get your attention.
So if you’re reading snarky “man bites dog” headlines across the internet today, it’s mostly a journalistic inside-joke, and you are now on the inside.